Armed with a little common sense, adhesive and sealant removal work doesn’t have to be a struggle. Nobody wants to leave a tacky trail or unattractive finish, after all. And what if a joint still needs bonding? In this case, the old sealant must be absolutely eliminated. Either way, there must be guidelines somewhere that can help simplify an “unsticking” operation, right?
Remember A Few Cautionary Steps
Ironically, this isn’t the easiest task. All things considered, high-performance adhesives and sealants are designed to form permanent bonds. If some impatient dismantler takes a poorly chosen action here, well, the bonded parts could accumulate physical damage. Don’t wrench the bonded parts or use great quantities of muscle to break the adhesive seal. Odds are, that seal will hold while the bonded surface accumulates damage.
Assess the Three Debonding Options
Physical strength comes first, but we all know how wrong that solution can go, especially when too much muscle is applied. However, a wee bit of muscle can be applied as a supplementary debonding agent. For example, if there’s a dissolving chemical that will soften a sealant, use that chemical sensibly, then allow it to do its job. If it bends, the seal hasn’t dissolved yet, so apply more dissolving fluid or wait until the solvent has broken down the adhesive bonds. Third in our bond breaking armoury, we arrive at thermal energy. A little heat gets the job done.
Adhesive and Sealant Removal: Thermal Debonding
Using silicone caulks as an obvious example, a hot air gun will slowly break the putty-like grip. It’s generally applied all the way around. In glass frames, for example, it’ll take time to accumulate enough thermal energy. Glass conducts heat easily, so patience is required.
There are times when heat and solvents won’t work. Solvents destroy some plastics. Heat can also melt heat-sensitive materials. Clearly, just by looking at the mistakes that are being made in the above passages, a little common sense goes a long way. If the adhesive or bonded surfaces are heat and/or chemical intolerant, then turn the air blower thermostat down while searching for a compatible chemical dissolving agent.
Last of all, there are safety measures to incorporate. For some adhesives and sealants, the use of a paper wipe is good enough. It’ll clean away the nasty muck. However, some volatile bonding formulas will emit choking vapours when they’re heated or exposed to a solvent. Use breathing apparatus, then cover the noxious stuff in water. As the parted joint separates, use a flat-bladed scraper to eliminate the cured residue from both surfaces.